Young Cleopatra Corns is the head of one of the most powerful conglomerates in the world, whose resources rival that of many nations. While many people in her position would only have to concern themselves with business matters, Cleo often finds herself thrust into dangerous and unusual situations (super soldier programs, mysterious diamonds that people are willing to kill for, and so and so forth) many of which may threaten the very security of the world itself.
Plausibility is a tricky creature when it comes to fiction. It is entirely possible to have a story with an utterly ridiculous background yet still have it be considered quite good. One way to go about this is to make the story so engaging either through its characters or simple fun factor that the audience is willing to overlook certain elements. Another is to use the ridiculous setting as metaphor for something deep and meaningful. Well, there are other ways, but this isn't a drama theory column, it is an anime review.
I brought that point up for a reason though, as the setting and plotline of Cleopatra DC really seems to stretch plausibility without really using any of the techniques that would normally make a person forgive that. You see, this young woman Cleopatra (Cleo), who might not even be in her twenties, is the head of the largest and most powerful conglomerate on Earth. As far as I can tell, being the head of the largest most powerful conglomerate on Earth seems to require no real work or direction on her part, since she has a lot of time to simply lounge around and wait for planes to crash through her window.
Since being the head of the aforementioned Corns Group doesn't seem to really be taxing her time, she has more than enough time to engage in the wacky Bondesque adventures that seem to all but fall into her lap as she goes about her daily life. Now I will admit there was semi-good use of the idea of corporate tactics being used to harm one of the bad guys in one of the episodes, but a lot of the time she seems to be going out into "the field", as it were, along with her close-knit group of business associates and friends.
I will also admit they do have the vaguely interesting idea of the Sleider Group, this other huge conglomerate as an antagonist. The problem with this is they have made it ridiculously black and white in terms of morality. The Corns Group, despite being this world encompassing economic powerhouse apparently only deals in "good" businesses, where the Sleider group focuses on every cruel and criminal activity they can find, from human trafficking to smuggling. Maybe they scam widows with MLM frauds as well. Probably. This does bring the idea of corporate wars to an all new level.
The field deployment of Cleo and her top aides just kind of struck me as odd. She doesn't seem particularly clumsy or anything, but nor did she seem to really demonstrate the level of training of acumen that one might associate with the kind of adventures she was partaking in. It would seem just easier and probably generally safer to say create a Corns Group Seraphim Brigade or something. At one point, she apparently has enough clout and pull to call up President Bush (the original, not George W. Bush) and request US military assets to be tasked. Though it was a bit amusing how easy it was, that at least made a bit more sense. I know, I know. This is a wacky adventure! I'm supposed to have suspension of disbelief.
Honestly, none of the characters were particularly memorable or engaging. Cleopatra is likable enough in her spunky super-CEO, super-agent way, but most of the others seem to mainly exist to fill a few archetypical roles whether in terms of story or just in terms of appearance. Perhaps if they had a few more episodes, they could have worked on character development a bit.
I actually did like the generally appealing character designs and I felt there was fairly good attention to detail. Background work and vehicles while not stunning were still fairly good. The animation was not bad, but not much more than fair. It definitely was better than television animation of the same period, but I don't feel they maximized their OAV potential. The action scenes were okay, but many involved some rather ridiculous beginnings that I had a bit of trouble with such as the world's most obvious set-up at a party. Heck, at least that scene demonstrated my theory on why Cleo should just hire people.
There were a few comedic elements that did make me crack a smile. This military man who is being used as the point man for many of the antagonist in this show becomes obsessed with defeating Cleo after she keeps blowing pieces off of him in fights. I wish this show had a bit more goofiness like that character as it would have made it more enjoyable overall. As it stands, I thought the show just ends up taking itself a bit too serious given the characters and set-up.
It is unfortunate. I really did think the basic premise had a lot of potential here, but they don't offer engaging enough characters or entertaining enough plot for me to really accept all the utter wackiness that is going on. The show isn't amusing enough for me to try and parse it as parody either.
I simply had trouble swallowing the basic premise and nothing else about this show was really compelling enough to make me overlook it. The show comes off as a sort of James Bond with less logical set-up (yes, I know that is saying a lot). If you simply don't care about plausibility or really enjoy seeing attractive women and bishonen deliver CORPORATE JUSTICE to evil doers, feel free to add a star. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: While there are a lot of guns, bomb explosions, and the occasional death, none of it is particularly graphic. A lot of the Corns Group females end up in some pretty skimpy outfits at times, but there is almost no actual nudity (a brief shower scene). Overall, safe for teens and above.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (3/3)
Cleopatra DC © 1989 Agent 21 / JC Staff
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